(circa "A Witch Shall Be Born")
Huge Outsider (Evil)
Hit Dice: 13d8 + 65 (124 Hit Points)
Initiative: -1 (dex)
Speed: 30 ft
AC: 15 (-1 Dex, -2 size, +8 natural)
Attacks: Claw +22/+17/+12 melee
Damage: Claw 2d4+9
Face/Reach: 10 ft by 5 ft/15ft
Special Qualities: Darkvision 60'
Saves: Fort +13, Ref +6, Will +8
Abilities: Str 28, Dex 8, Con 20, Int 8, Wis 10, Cha 10
Skills: Listen +17, Spot +17, Search +17, Hide +17, Move Silent +17, Gather Information +17
Feats: Power Attack, Cleave, Combat Reflexes, Death Blow, Power Lunge
Challenge Rating: 13
Alignment: Chaotic Evil
Advancement: by Character class
|Out of the gloom at the other end of the great hall a vast dark form heaved up - came rushing toward him in gigantic frog-like hops. He saw the gleam of great unearthly eyes, the shimmer of fangs or talons. The monster seemed to be watching Valerius and the girl. Squeezing its vast, unstable bulk through the door, it bounded toward him, as he ran down the steps. He felt it looming behind him, a giant shadowy thing, like a travesty of nature cut out of the heart of night, a black shapelessness in which only the staring eyes and gleaming fangs were distinct.|
|~Robert E. Howard, "A Witch Shall Be Born"|
|Thaug, a being from
the dark abysses beyond human knowledge, from the black night of ages, is
a vast, shadowy form, but to attack it must be corporeal. It makes
sounds like a strident, inhuman croaking that freezes the blood of all
that hear it.
Thaug was summoned up by Salome and she fed human sacrifices to it - but to what end we do not know. What Thaug gave Salome in return is a mystery unknown. It eats people, apparently.
|Thaug fights with his raking claw attacks.||Related Links|
|Published in the December 1934 issue of Weird
Tales, this story has probably the most famous scene in the entire Conan
series. It is probably the most famous scene in all of Howard's
writing, and perhaps even in the entire genre of
fantasy. Anyone who has read "A Witch Shall Be Born",
while perhaps forgetting the characters and/or plot, will never forget
As Karl Edward Wagner put it, "Conan in agony, helpless, close to death-crushing the vulture's neck in his teeth-enduring the ordeal of the felling of the cross- impatiently ripping the nails out of his feet with his mangled hands- holding onto the saddle on a frenzied mount... the episode dominates the story and the series. Better than any other scene, it underscores Conan's barbaric vitality and indomitable soul. The scene overshadows the remainder of the story- and "A Witch Shall Be Born" is an excellent story. It is Conan at his best- defeated and condemned to a hideous death, fighting back through his barbaric strength and iron-willed determination, ultimately triumphant in the final battle, dooming his enemies to a just vengeance."
Karl Edward Wagner also said this of the story: "It is a measure of Howard's confidence in his mastery of the narrative that he no longer felt it necessary to waste pages describing various anatomy Conan can hack apart. After the crucifixion scene, we know Conan is tough."
|The story was given a Margaret Brundage cover featuring Salome torturing her sister Taramis with a cat-o-nine-tails, and a Hugh Rankin interior illustration (if anyone out there has a scan of this interior illustration, I would appreciate being emailed a copy).|
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